English Paper Boy Won’t Get Holiday Pay

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(AP) If 14-year-old Edward Des Clayes wants a holiday from his three-hour-a-week job as a newspaper delivery boy, he’ll have to take it unpaid, an employment tribunal ruled Thursday.

The tribunal said Des Clayes, who earns an average 10 pounds ($14) a week for his newspaper route, was too young to be covered by laws that guarantee workers holiday pay.

The schoolboy from Sawbridgeworth in southern England had claimed he was entitled to the pay under the Working Time Regulations because the laws did not state a minimum age limit. But the tribunal said he needed to be at least 15 to be covered by the regulations.

The tribunal panel in Stratford, east London, ruled that the most Des Clayes could do was to ask his employers, Herts & Essex Newspapers Ltd., for a “period of time without work.”

Backed by his dentist father Steve, Des Clayes decided to take legal action after watching a television program on the issue.

Graham Judge, the newspaper group’s human resources executive, told the tribunal that European directives granting workers four weeks paid holiday a year did not apply to children.

Des Clayes also did not fall under the Protection of Young Children Directive because it was designed for those aged between 15 to 18 who were no longer subject to compulsory schooling.

The newspaper group pointed to a February 1999 statement by then Trade and Industry Minister Ian McCartney in the House of Commons which said that paper boys and girls under the school-leaving age of 16 were not entitled to paid annual leave.

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